Saxman: Super Bowl Ads, Halftime Show, and Almost the Best Game Ever. Thanks, Ref…

Super Bowl 57 – an American entertainment colossus with a football game.

Before I jump into the commercials and half time show, let’s just get that holding penalty out of the way. It was a ticky tack holding that happens all the time and to call that on third down in the red zone under two minutes was horrible. An otherwise brilliant game that should not have been determined by the referees. #BeConsistent

Game A+ before that call. After? Still an A-.

Expect a rematch next year as both teams are loaded.


Overall, the commercials rate out at a B+. The trend of over producing and jamming too much content into a short window of time erodes quality. Frankly, too many feel forced and throwing in top stars doesn’t really help sell the products or services – they distract. Rarely did the super stars help.

But if you are going to get the C Suites to sign off on $7MM for a 30-second ad, you better bring in a big name to protect the down side. “Yeah, but we got Will Ferrell.”

None of these are in any particular order.

Super Star Misses

  1. Bradley Cooper and his mom. One line was cute about his not winning awards. Other than that… “Hey! We booked Bradley Cooper but he wants his mom to be in it too…” “How much time do we have? Half an hour …they’re on their way…” “Wait … what?”
  2. Sylvester Stallone and Paramount streaming. Should have had Sly showing his daughters all the great movies and shows on Paramount with a, “What? You haven’t see this?” and then have the girls admit that they stopped watching the Rocky franchise after Apollo died. “Yeah, DAD! He didn’t have to die!”
  3. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in Popcorners.
  4. John Hamm, Bree Larson, Pete Davidson for Hellman’s. Mayonnaise is an overrated condiment (not as bad as ketchup which is the most overrated) and the playing off of their names was stupid. Get it? Ham and Brie? No. It’s stupid.
  5. Maya Rudolph. LOVE Maya Rudolph, just not that commercial.
  6. Paul Rudd as Antman and Heineken 0.0 – just a bad combination. Ditch the ants and sell the product.
  7. Miles Teller and Mrs dancing to on-hold music with Bud Lights. In cans. Seriously? Cans? “Okay, so just start dancing around. We’ve only got this crew for another 45 minutes … ACTION!”
  8. Kevin Hart, Ludacris, and Tony Hawk for Draft Kings. One of the writers HAD to have said, “I don’t get this at all….” which drew the reply, “Shut up, we’re getting paid.”
  9. Snoop Dogg for Skechers. Seems a little off brand for ol Snoop a Loop.
  10. Serena Williams for Remy Martin. Powerful ad about teamwork until … the product was shown. Should have been Serena highlight reel with her voice over and then enjoying the product.

Super Star Hits

  1. Serena William and great cast in Michelob Ultra’s Caddyshack redux. That was boffo.
  2. P. Diddy in Uber One. Lively and fun. Really drew you in and punched the brand at the end.
  3. Dexcom with Nick Jonas. Well done and effective. Making diabetes more accessible and less shameful.
  4. Sarah McLachlan for Busch Light. Self deprecating humor is always a winner and they nailed this one. Actually thought about going out and buying Busch Light. Whew … that was close…
  5. Ben Affleck and J Lo – Dunkin’. Nice twist at the end when she drives up to the window. She can sell anything.
  6. Ben Stiller and Steve Martin ads for Pepsi Zero Sugar. Would have preferred Martin Short AND Martin riffing off of each other, but they made the sale here in simply asking the audience to try the product. No thanks. But I’m sure many will take them up.
  7. Melissa McCarthy for Does she ever miss? And that last scene was hilarious with the pat on the back side of her traveling companion.
  8. Alicia Silversmith reprising her Clueless role for Rakuten. Hit the demographics well there.
  9. May God have mercy on my soul for this one. John Travolta and those other two guys for T Mobile. Look, it worked. Grease is the word. Entertaining and aimed at saving money for phone service. Hit the demos, people. Effective.
  10. Rock stars Billy Idol, Ozzy Osbourne, and Joan Jett for Workday. Very effective introduction of that brand. Bet that site got a lot of hits.

Total Misses – there were few but they still need to be taken to the woodshed.

  1. Pringles. If your hook is that you can get your hand stuck in the can, how is that a sell? Plus the story line…Dumb and then Dumber. Get Jim Carrey and Jeff Bridges next time. THAT would have worked.
  2. Unstoppables. Next to most condiments, are there more useless products than dryer sheets, laundry smell bombs, and fabric softeners? Ban the lot of them. Crap, crap, and more crap…
  3. Gronk. Field goal. Fan Duel, where idiots go to gamble.
  4. Probably not in your market – but the Richmond (GRTC) bus service ran an ad asking people to apply to be a bus driver. Maybe … oh, I don’t know … plow those advertising dollars into PAYING YOUR DRIVERS. Just spit balling here….
  5. Michelob Ultra – Tony Romo. Know your audience. Football fans just don’t like him. I guess Chris Collinsworth was too busy. Otherwise, Mich Ultra had a good Super Bowl.

Best of the bunch

  1. E-trade – the talking babies were great except TOO MANY people were talking about how cute the babies were so I missed the dialogue.
  2. Temu – very catchy tune and great introduction of that brand.
  3. Amazon – great dog commercial. You don’t need a big star to connect with your customers. Well done.
  4. Farmers Dog. Excellent.
  5. Google Pixel – exceptional ad that actually made me want to buy it BEFORE I knew what the brand was.
  6. Kia – Binky Dad – could have been an A+ commercial but, of course, they had to treat the dad like he’s an idiot at the end. Hate the anti-male theme that runs throughout the advertising industry. *Single Digit Salute* *Double Single Digit Salute*
  7. Miller Lite/Coors Light bar fight for Blue Moon. How to sell three brands at once. All are owned by MillerCoors. Why sell one, when you can sell three?
  8. Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford is friggin 80, folks. But that theme song still sells and who won’t go see that flick?
  9. Will Ferrell for GMC’s SUV EV. I mean it’s Will Farrell. The guy just kills it every time. Likable, funny, and knows his brand. A little over produced, but what the hell. Those EV SUVs ain’t cheap. They hit their target audience.
  10. Doritos – Jack Harlow and Elton John on the triangle. Kind of a stretch but they pulled it off.

Runner Ups

  1. Tubi
  2. USFL
  3. He Gets Us
  4. Navy
  5. Jeep Electric Slide
  6. Turbo Tax – dancing guy
  7. Square Space with Adam Driver
  8. Crown Royal via Canada
  9. Disney. Whatevs…
  10. Fox Nation streaming

Half Time Show

It’s time to be honest here. Half time shows are enjoyed most by those who grew up with the artists and songs being played. It’s about proximity and reliving great tunes from our youth.

While I am not too familiar with Rihanna, that music was great. I think lip syncing should be banned from Super Bowls because it just cheapens the event.

That said…

The Half Time show was visually stunning and a fantastic production. Floating stages? Seriously? It’s one thing to over engineer something, but it’s quite another when it works. And that did.

Choreography for the Sir Hump A Lot Dancers was boring, unimaginative, and frankly off putting for older viewers. Unnecessary.

Overall a solid B+/A-.

Much better than last year’s.

If you like Rihanna, you liked that show. If you didn’t, that’s okay. It wasn’t designed to get you to watch the game. It was aimed at your kids.

Oh and it was a really good game of American football. Until that third down in the red zone holding call inside two minutes … Chiefs probably still would have won, but it should not have ended like that.

Aaaaannnnddd, finally…

Why is today not a national holiday?

What time this morning is the grounds crew fired for those field conditions? YEESH.

If your guests were also too busy running their mouths….

Great ad.

Dogs, babies, and simplicity sell. Super stars usually distract from the products.

For the full experience, upgrade to paid.

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